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ANTO  I  NE    HI)  I 

^'  Of/cac  /).!>. 







A  RESIDENT  OF  CHICAGO  A.  D.  1790- 
TON  AND  WILMETTEC 1826- 1838)  WITH 



SEVEN  years  ago  (1901),  in  a  paper  read  before  this 
society  entitled:  "Our  Indian  Predecessors— the  First 
Evanstonians,"  much  of  the  information  here  given 
respecting  the  Ouilmette  family  and  Reservation  was 
presented  for  the  first  time  from  original  sources  and 
research.  Since  then  further  information  has  come  to 
my  hands  from  time  to  time,  and  the  purpose  of  this 
pamphlet  is  to  preserve  for  this  society  in  concise  form 
what  has  been  thus  acquired. 

While  at  the  present  time  few  residents  of  this  vicinity 
or  of  the  North  Shore  are  uninformed,  at  least  to  some 
extent,  regarding  Antoine  Ouilmette  and  his  family,  still, 
for  the  convenience  of  the  future  student  of  local  history, 
this  monograph  may  be  found  an  improvement  on  tradi- 
tion embellished  and  handed  down  by  the  ever  present 
"Old  Settler." 

F.  R.  G. 

Evanston,  111.,  May  1st,  1908. 

Bowman  Publish 

North  Shore  Residence  of  Antoine  Ouilmette  and  Family  (1828-1844).     See  page  19 

From  water  color  drawing 
by  Mr.  Charles  P.  Westerfield 

Iki..  HIST. 

*         5a 



The  primeval  beauty  of  that  ancient  forest  that  stood 
on  the  western  shore  of  Lake  Michigan  immediately 
north  of  Chicago,  and  covering  the  ground  that  now  con- 
stitutes the  northern  portion  of  the  City  of  Evanston  and 
the  Village  of  Wilmette,  has  passed  away.  Many  of  its 
towering  elms  and  great  oaks  that  have  stood  for  centuries 
of  time  remain  to  indicate  in  some  measure  what  was  the 
real  beauty  of  that  forest  in  the  days  when  this  Illinois 
country  was  unknown  to  white  men. 

In  the  place  of  much  of  that  forest  stand  costly  dwell- 
ings; public  buildings;  paved  streets  and  all  the  evidences 
of  individual  and  public  effort  that  illustrate  so  graphically 
the  advance  of  our  western  civilization,  and  especially  the 
rapidity  of  growth  and  enterprise  of  Chicago  and  its 
suburbs.  There  is  probably  no  spot  in  America  where  such 
rapid  and  marked  change  has  taken  place,  for  there  are 
-^many  young  residents  of  that  part  of  Illinois  known  in 
these  later  days  as  the  "  North  Shore "  who  have  observed 
step  by  step  these  changes  that  have  transformed  this  wild 
woodland  into  the  suburban  home  of  thousands  of  Chica- 
go's citizens. 

In  the  midst  of  this  former  forest  was  the  "Ouilmette 
Reservation. "  Those  two  quoted  words  have  a  peculiar 
g  significance  to  the  few  old  settlers  yet  living  who  knew  An- 
toine  Ouilmette  and  his  Pottawatomie  squaw  Archange. 
To  the  few  lawyers  and  others  who  have  to  do  with  land 
titles  and  county  records  they  indicate  only  the  legal  de- 
scription of  a  tract  of  land.  It  is  my  purpose  to  relate  as 
briefly  as  possible  what  I  have  been  able  to  learn  of  its  first 
proprietors : 

The  Ouilmette  Reservation  and  its  former  occupants  and 
owners  have  been  the  subject  of  much  solicitude  and  inves- 
tigation, not  entirely  for  historical  purposes,  but  more 
especially  that  the  white  man  might  know  that  he  had  a 

good  white  man's  title  to  the  Indian's  land.  Its  southern 
boundary  was  Central  Street,  or  a  line  due  west  from  the 
Evanston  light-house;  the  eastern  boundary,  Lake  Michi- 
gan; the  northern  boundary  a  little  south  of  Kenilworth 
(Elmwood  Avenue,  formerly  North  Avenue,  Wilmette), 
and  the  western  boundary  at  the  western  terminus  of  the 
present  street-car  line  on  Central  Street  in  Evanston  and 
Fifteenth  Street  in  Wilmette,  from  which  boundaries  it 
will  be  seen  that  some  300  acres  of  the  Reservation  falls 
within  the  city  limits  of  Evanston,  while  the  remainder 
includes  the  greater  portion  of  the  Village  of  Wilmette. 

The  Reservation  takes  its  name  from  its  original  owner, 
Archange  Ouilmette,  wife  of  Antoine  Ouilmette,  described 
in  the  original  Treaty  and  Patent  from  the  United  States 
as  a  Pottawatomie  woman.  The  name  given  the  village — 
Wilmette — originates  from  Antoine  himself  and  from  the 
phonetic  spelling  of  the  French  name  l '  0-u-i-l-m-e-t-t-e, ' ' 
and  is  said  upon  good  authority  to  have  been  first  sug- 
gested as  the  name  of  the  village  by  Judge  Henry  W.  Blod- 
gett,  late  of  Waukegan,  who  was  interested  in  the  very 
early  real  estate  transactions  of  the  village. 

There  are  many  interesting  facts  regarding  Ouilmette 
and  his  family.  Antoine,  the  husband,  was  a  Frenchman, 
who,  like  many  of  his  coutrymen,  came  to  the  West  in  early 
days  and  married  an  Indian  wife.  He  was  one  of  the  first 
white  residents  of  Chicago;  some  of  the  authorities  say 
that,  with  the  exception  of  Marquette,  he  was  the  very  first. 
He  was  born  at  a  place  called  Lahndrayh,  near  Montreal, 
Canada,  in  the  year  1760.  His  first  employment  was  with 
the  American  Fur  Company,  in  Canada,  and  he  came  to 
Chicago  in  the  employ  of  that  company  in  the  year  1790. 

This  striking  figure  in  our  local  history,  and  in  the  very 
early  history  of  Chicago,  is  sadly  neglected  in  most,  if  not 
all,  the  historical  writings.  Almost  every  one  in  this  lo- 
cality knows  that  the  Village  of  Wilmette  was  named  after 
him;  many  misinformed  people  speak  of  Ouilmette  as  an 
Indian  chief ;  a  few  of  the  writers  merely  mention  his  name 
as  one  of  the  early  settlers  of  Chicago.  And  that  has  been 
the  beginning  and  end  of  his  written  history. 

Ouilmette 's  occupation  cannot  be  more  definitely  stated 


than  to  say  that,  after  his  employment  by  the  American 
Fur  Company,  he  was  an  employe  of  John  Kinzie  at  Chi- 
cago, and  thereafter  in  turn  Indian  trader,  hunter  and 
farmer.  He  was  a  type  of  the  early  French  voyageurs, 
who  lived  and  died  among  their  Indian  friends,  loving  more 
the  hardships  and  excitement  of  the  Western  frontier  than 
the  easier  life  of  Eastern  civilization. 

Archange  Ouilmette,  wife  of  Antoine,  was  a  squaw  of 
the  Pottawatomie  tribe,  belonging  to  a  band  of  that  tribe 
located  at  the  time  she  was  married  at  "Gross  Point,"  or 
what  is  now  Evanston  and  Wilmette,  although  the  band 
were  constant  rovers  over  the  territory  which  became  later 
the  states  of  Illinois,  Michigan,  Indiana  and  Wisconsin. 
While  Archange  was  of  the  Pottawatomie  tribe,  her  father, 
it  is  said  by  one  authority,  was  a  white  man,  a  trader  in  the 
employ  of  the  American  Fur  Company,  and  a  Frenchman, 
bearing  the  rather  striking  name  of  Francois  Chevallier. 
Archange  was  born  at  Sugar  Creek,  Michigan,  about  1764, 
and  died  at  Council  Bluffs,  Iowa,  in  1840.  (Authority, 
Sophia  Martell,  daughter,  and  Israel  Martell,  grandson.) 

Ouilmette  had  eight  children,  four  sons  and  four  daugh- 
ters, viz. :  Joseph,  Louis,  Francis,  Mitchell,  Elizabeth,  Arch- 
ange, Josette  and  Sophia;  also  an  adopted  daughter,  Arch- 
snge  Trombla,  who,  on  August  3, 1830,  married  John  Mann, 
who  in  early  times  ran  a  ferry  at  Calumet.  (Authority 
John  Wentworth  and  Sophia  Martell,  the  only  surviving 
daughter  of  Antoine  Ouilmette.  She  was  still  living  in 
1905  on  the  Pottawatomie  Indian  Keservation  at  St. 
Mary's,  Kansas.) 

If  a  detailed  account  of  all  Ouilmette  saw  and  did  could 
be  written  we  would  have  a  complete  history  of  Chicago, 
Evanston  and  all  the  North  Shore,  during  the  eventful  fifty 
years  intervening  between  1790  and  1840,  and  it  is  certain 
that  he  and  his  family  bore  no  unimportant  part  in  the  his- 
tory of  Illinois  during  that  half  century  of  time. 


It  appears  from  a  letter  signed  with  "his  mark,"  written 
and  witnessed  by  one  James  Moore,  dated  at  Racine,  June 


3,  1839  (corroborated  also  by  his  family),  that  Ouilmette 
came  to  Chicago  in  1790.  A  f  ac-simile  of  this  letter,  which 
is  addressed  to  Mr.  John  H.  Kinzie,  appears  in  Blanchard's 
History  of  Chicago  (p.  574),  and  contains  some  interesting 
facts,  both  historical  and  personal.  He  says : 

"My  home  affairs  are  sutch  that  I  cannot  leave  to  see  you  at 

"1  cairn  into  Chicago  in  the  year  1790  in  July  witness  old  Mr. 
Veaux  .  .  .  and  Mr.  Griano  .  .  .  These  men  ware  living 
in  the  country  Before  the  war  with  the  winnebagoes.  Trading 
with  them  I  saw  the  Indians  Brake  open  the  Door  of  my  house 
and  also  the  Door  of  Mr.  Kinzie's  House.  At  first  there  was  only 
three  Indians  come.  They  told  me  there  was  Forty  more  com- 
ing and  they  told  me  to  run.  i  Did  So.  in  nine  days  all  I 
found  left  of  my  things  was  the  feathers  of  my  beds  scattered 
about  The  floor,  the  amount  Distroyed  By  them  at  that  time  was 
about  Eight  hundred  Dollars.  Besides  your  fathar  and  me  Had 
about  four  hundred  hogs  Distroyed  by  the  Saim  Indians  and 
nearly  at  the  Saim  time,  further  particulars  when  I  See  you.  I 
wish  you  to  write  me  whether  it  is  best  for  me  come  thare  or 
for  you  to  come  hear  and  how  son  it  must  be  Done" 

"Yours  with  Respect" 

Antoine  X  Ouilmette" 

"Jas.  Moore"  mark 

The  original  letter  was  furnished  to  Mr.  Blanchard  by 
Mrs.  Eleanor  Kinzie  Gordon  of  Savannah,  Georgia,  a 
daughter  of  John  H.  Kinzie. 

Ouilmette  owned  and  occupied  one  of  the  four  cabins 
that  constituted  the  settlement  of  Chicago  in  1803.  The 
ether  residents  were  Kinzie,  Burns  and  Lee  (Kirkland's 
Story  of  Chicago,  Andrea's  History  of  Chicago,  Mrs. 
"William  Whistler's  letter,  written  in  1875). 

Ouilmette  was  in  Chicago  at  the  time  of  the  massacre  of 
the  garrison  of  old  Fort  Dearborn  in  1812  by  the  Potta- 
watomies,  and  his  family  was  instrumental,  at  that  time,  in 
saving  the  lives  of  at  least  two  whites.  Mrs.  John  H.  Kin- 
zie in  her  historic  book,  "Wau-bun"  (The  Early  Day),  de- 
pcribes  the  circumstances: 

"The  next  day  after  Black  Partridge,  the  Pottawatomie  Chief, 
had  saved  the  life  of  Mrs.  Helm  in  the  massacre  on  the  lake 
shore  [commemorated  by  the  monument  recently  erected  at  the 
place],  a  band  of  the  most  hostile  and  implacable  of  all  the 
tribes  of  the  Pottawatomies  arrived  at  Chicago  and,  disappointed 
at  their  failure  to  participate  in  the  massacre  and  plunder,  were 
ready  to  wreak  vengeance  on  the  survivors,  including  Mrs.  Helm 
and  other  members  of  Mr.  Kinzie's  family.  Mrs.  Kinzie  says 
(Wau-bun,  pages  235,  240) : 


Partridge  had 

particularly  awakened  for  the  safely  of  Mrs.  Helm  (Mr. 
Kinzies  stepdaughter).  By  his  advice  she  was  made  to  assaisn 
the  ordinary  dress  of  a  French  woman  of  the  country. 

"In  this  disguise  she  was  conducted  by  Black  Partridge  him- 
self to  the  house  of  Onilmette,  a  Frenchman  with  a  half-breed  wife, 
who  formed  a  part  of  the  establishment  of  Mr.  Kinzie,  and  whose 
dwelling  was  close  at  hand.*  It  so  happened  that  the  Indians 
came  first  to  this  house  in  their  search  for  prisoners.  As  they 
approached,  the  inmates,  fearful  that  the  fair 
genera]  appearance  of  Mrs.  Hebn  might  betray  her  for 
can,  raised  a  large  feather  bed  **»*i  placed  her  pawtor  t] 
it,  upon  the  bedstead,  with  her  face  to  the  walL  Mrs.  Bisson,  the 
sister  of  Ouilmette's  wife,  then  seated  herself  with  her  sewing 
upon  the  foot  of  the  bed." 

It  was  a  hot  day  in  August,  and  Mrs.  Helm  suffered 
so  much  from  her  position  and  was  so  nearly  suffocated 
that  she  entreated  to  be  released  and  given  up  to  the  In- 
dians. "I  can  hut  die,"  said  she.  "Let  them  put  an  end 
to  my  misery  at  once."  When  they  assured  her  that  her 
discovery  would  he  the  death  of  them  all,  she  remained 

The  Indians  entered  and 

from  her  hiding  place,  gliding  about  and  stealthily 
every  part  of  the  room,  though  without  making  any 
search,  until  apparently  satisfied  that  there  was  no 
cealed,  they  left  the  house.     .     .     All  this  time  Mrs. 
kept  her  seat  upon  the  side  of  the  bed,  calmly 
arranging  the  patch  work  of  the  quflt  on  which  a 
engaged  and  preserving  the  appearance  of  the 
lity,  although  she  knew  not  but  the  next 
receive  a  tomahawk  in  her  brain.    Her  self 
tionably  saved  the  lives  of  all  present.    .    . 
house  the  party  proceeded  to  the  dwelling  of  Mr.  Kinzie,- 

The  Indians  had  just  left  Ouilmette's  house  when 
Griffin,  a  non-commissioned  officer,  who  had  escaped  sod 
had  been  concealed  among  the  current  hushes  of  Ouil- 
mette's garden,  climbed  into  Ouilmette's  house  through  a 
window  to  hide  from  the  Indians.  "The  family  stripped 
him  of  his  uniform  and  arrayed  him  in  a  suit  of  deer  skin 
with  belt,  moccasins  and  pipe,  like  a  French  engage,"  in 
which  disguise  he  also  escaped. 

After  the  massacre,  when  John  Kinzie  and  all  the  other 
white  settlers  and  their  families,  fled  from  the  place,  Ouil- 
mette  and  his  family  remained,  and  he  was  the  only  white 
resident  of  Chicago  for  the  following  four  years,  1812  to 


1816.  (Kirkland's  ''Story  of  Chicago";  Hurlbut's  "Chi- 
cago Antiquities.")  The  reason  for  their  thus  remaining 
was  on  account  of  their  friendly  relationship  with  most,  if 
not  all,  the  Indian  population. 

In  1814  Alexander  Kobinson  (afterwards  chief  of  the 
Pottawatomies),  came  to  Chicago,  and  he  and  Ouilmette 
cultivated  the  field  formerly  used  as  the  garden  of  old  Fort 
Dearborn.  They  raised  good  crops  of  corn  and  sold  the 
crop  of  1816  to  Captain  Bradley,  after  his  arrival  at  Chi- 
cago to  rebuild  the  fort.  (Andrea's  History  of  Chicago.) 
He  was  still  in  Chicago  in  1821.  (Andrea's  Id.  Kirkland 


He  had  horses  and  oxen  and  other  stock  in  abundance. 
In  the  early  days  he  kept  a  small  store  in  Chicago,  and 
used  to  tow  boats  into  the  Chicago  river  with  his  ox  teams. 
He  also  furnished  the  Fort  Dearborn  garrison  with  meat 
and  fuel  and  carried  on  trading  operations  with  the  In- 
dians along  the  North  Shore  from  Chicago  to  Milwaukee 
and  in  Canada,  where  he  frequently  went.  (Authority, 
Sophia  Martell.) 

Mrs.  Archibald  Clybourne  says  that  Ouilmette  raised 
sheep  when  he  lived  in  Chicago,  and  that  her  mother,  Mrs. 
Galloway,  used  to  purchase  the  wool  of  him  with  which  she 
spun  yarn  and  knit  stockings  for  the  Fort  Dearborn  sol- 

Ouilmette  was  a  thrifty  Frenchman.  In  1825  he  was 
one  of  the  principal  tax  payers  in  Chicago,  and  paid  $4 
taxes  that  year  upon  property  valued  at  $400,  as  appears 
by  an  old  tax  roll,  dated  July  25  of  that  year.  (Blanch- 
ard's  "History  of  Chicago, "  p.  517.)  With  one  exception 
none  of  the  fourteen  tax  payers  of  that  year  owned  prop- 
erty in  excess  of  $1,000.  'John  Kinzie's  holdings  appear 
on  the  same  roll  as  worth  $500,  while  those  of  John  B. 
Beaubien  are  set  down  at  $1,000 ;  the  lowest  man  on  this  list 
is  Joseph  La  Framboise,  who  paid  50  cents  on  property 
valued  at  $50,  and  Ouilmette 's  taxes  appear  considerably 
above  the  average  in  amount.  He  also  appears  as  a  voter 
upon  the  poll  book  of  an  election  held  at  Chicago  on  Au- 
gust 7,  1826,  at  which  election  it  is  said  he  voted  for  John 
Quincy  Adams  for  President  (Blanchard,  Id.,  p.  519), 

which  is  the  last  record  I  have  been  able  to  find  of  his  resi- 
dence in  Chicago. 

Oiulmette  was  a  Roman  Catholic.  In  April,  1833,  he 
joined,  with  Alexander  Robinson,  Billy  Caldwell,  several  of 
the  Beaubiens  and  others,  in  a  petition  to  the  Bishop  of  the 
diocese  of  Missouri,  at  St.  Louis,  asking  for  the  establish- 
ment of  the  first  Catholic  church  in  Chicago.  The  peti- 
tion (written  in  French)  says:  "A  priest  should  be  sent 
there  before  other  sects  obtain  the  upper  hand,  which  very 
likely  they  will  try  to  do."  The  early  enterprise  of  the 
church  is  demonstrated  by  the  fact  that  the  petition  was 
received  on  April  16  and  granted  the  next  day.  (Andrea's 
History  of  Chicago.)  The  seventy-fifth  anniversary  of  the 
founding  of  this  church  was  celebrated  with  great  cere- 
mony this  year  (1908)  in  Chicago. 

This  circumstance,  in  1833,  and  many  others,  seem  to  in- 
dicate that  even  after  Ouilmette's  removal  from  Chicago  to 
the  North  Shore  he  and  his  family  remained  intimately  as- 
sociated with  affairs  in  Chicago. 

Mrs.  Kinzie  took  Ouilmette's  daughter  Josette  with  her 
to  the  Indian  agency  of  which  her  husband  was  in  charge 
at  Old  Fort  Winnebago,  in  Wisconsin,  on  her  return  from 
Chicago  in  1831.  She  describes  her  (Wau-bun,  p.  300)  as 
"a  little  bound  girl,  a  bright,  pretty  child  of  ten  years  of 
age.  She  had  been  at  tne  Saint  Joseph's  Mission  School." 
Mrs.  Kinzie  at  the  time  of  the  Black  Hawk  War  (1832) 
fled  from  Fort  Winnebago  to  Green  Bay  in  a  canoe  and 
took  this  same  litle  Josette  Ouilmette  with  her  (Wau-bun, 
p.  426). 

That  Josette  was  a  protege  of  the  Kinzie  family,  and  that 
they  took  a  lively  interest  in  her  welfare,  Turther  appears 
from  the  treaty  of  1833  with  the  Pottawatomies  at  Chicago. 
She  is  personally  provided  for,  probably  at  the  demand  of 
the  Kinzies,  in  the  following  words:  "To  Josette  Ouil- 
mette (John  H.  Kinzie,  Trustee)  $200."  The  other  chil- 
dren did  not  fare  so  well,  for  the  treaty  further  provides 
"To  Antoine  Ouilmette's  children  $300." 

It  also  seems  that  the  kindness  of  the  Kinzies  to  Josette 
was  not  entirely  appreciated  by  the  Ouilmettes.  (See  cor- 
respondence Evanston  Hist.  Colls.) 


Mitchell  Ouilmette,  on  May  2,  1832  (as  John  Wentworth 
says),  enlisted  in  the  first  "militia  of  the  town  of  Chicago 
until  all  apprehension  of  danger  from  the  Indians  may 
have  subsided" — probably  referring  to  the  Black  Hawk 
War.  Mr.  Wentworth 's  authority  is  a  copy  of  the  enlist- 
ment roll,  where,  in  transcribing  the  copy,  his  name  is 
stated  as  "Michael,"  an  evident  mistake  in  transcribing 
from  the  original  signature. 

While  it  is  true  that  Captain  Heald  of  Fort  Dearborn 
was  notified  on  August  7  or  9,  1812,  of  the  declaration  of 
war  against  England  by  a  message  carried  by  the  Potta- 
watomie  chief,  Win-a-mac,  or  Winnemeg  (the  catfish), 
from  General  Hull  at  Detroit,  warning  Captain  Heald  that 
the  Post  and  Island  of  Mackinac  had  fallen  into  the  hands 
of  the  British,  of  the  consequent  danger  to  the  Chicago 
garrison  and  the  probable  necessity  of  retiring  to  Fort 
Wayne,  still  it  is  stated  upon  fairly  good  authority  that 
Louis  Ouilmette,  son  of  Antoine,  when  a  mere  boy,  learned 
the  same  facts  from  a  band  of  Indians  on  the  North  Shore, 
coming  either  from  Mackinac  or  from  that  vicinity,  and 
at  once  carried  the  information  to  the  garrison  several 
days  before  the  arrival  of  Win-a-mac.  (Authority,  data 
in  hands  of  Mr.  C.  S.  Raddin.) 

Some  twenty  years  later  this  same  Louis  Ouilmette  ren- 
dered further  substantial  aid  to  the  whites  in  the  Black 
Hawk  War.  Mr.  Frank  E.  Stevens,  in  his  recent  book 
(1903),  "The  Black  Hawk  War"  (p.  130,  131,  149),  seems 
to  be  the  only  writer  who  has  given  him  the  deserved 
though  tardy  recognition  to  which  he  seems  to  be  so  well 
entitled.  He  is  there  spoken  of  as  "a  French  trader,  thor- 
oughly familiar  with  those  parts  (Western  Illinois  and 
Wisconsin)  and  with  Indian  character."  It  seems  that  at 
this  time  he  was  a  trader  frequenting  La  Sallier's  Trading 
Post,  Dixon's  Ferry  and  other  points  in  that  vicinity,  ren- 
dered valuable  assistance  as  an  Indian  interpreter  and 
scout.  (See  Mr.  Stevens'  book  and  letters  from  him,  Ev. 
Hist.  So.  Colls.;  Reynolds'  "My  Own  Times,"  p.  361; 
Memories  of  Shaubema,  p.  184;  also  Life  of  Col.  Dement.) 

From  the  foregoing  facts  it  is  evident  that  Ouilmette  lo- 

10  ' 

cated  in  Chicago  in  1790,  and  lived  there  for  some  thirty- 
six  years,  and  that,  as  will  be  shown  later,  some  time  be- 
tween 1826  and  1829  he  located  within  the  present  limits 
cf  Evanston  or  "Wilmette  Village,  and  certainly  within 
the  Reservation. 


The  Indian  Treaty  of  Prairie  du  Chien,  which  will  be  re- 
ferred to  more  in  detail  later,  in  describing  the  boundaries 
of  a  part  of  the  lands  ceded  by  the  Indians,  and  dated  July 
29,  1829,  begins  the  description  as  follows : 

''Beginning  on  the  western  shore  of  Lake  Michigan,  at 
the  northeast  corner  of  the  field*  of  Antoine  Ouilmette,  who 
lives  near  Gross  Point,  about  twelve  (12)  miles  north  from 
Chicago,  thence  due  west  to  the  Rock  River,"  which  is  the 
first  evidence  I  have  found  of  Ouilmette 's  permanent  resi- 
dence in  this  vicinity,  although  he  was  married  to  Archange 
in  1796  or  1797  at  "Gross  Point,"  or  what  is  now  Wilmette 
Village  and  Evanston,  this  being  the  first  North  Shore 
wedding  of  which  there  is  any  history.  (Authority,  Sophia 

This  latter  circumstance  would  seem  to  clearly  indicate 
that  the  band  of  Pottawatomies  to  which  Archange  be- 
longed was  located  more  or  less  permanently  at  this  point 
on  the  North  Shore  in  the  eighteenth  century. 

John  Wentworth  says  in  his  reminiscences  that  Ouil- 
mette's  daughter,  Elizabeth,  married  for  her  first  husband 
on  May  11,  1830,  Michael  Welch,  "the  first  Irishman  in 

This  wedding,  with  the  son  of  Erin  groom  and  the  Potta- 
watomie  bride,  was  celebrated  in  an  old  log  cabin  that  stood 
until  1903  on  the  east  side  of  Sheridan  Road  at  Kenilworth 
and  about  two  blocks  north  of  the  Kenilworth  water  tower. 
The  writer  took  a  kodak  picture  of  this  log  cabin  shortly 
before  it  was  removed,  copy  of  which  appears  in  a  paper 
entitled  "Some  Indian  Land  Marks  of  the  North  Shore,1' 
read  before  the  Chicago  Hist.  Soc.  February  21,  1905.  (See 
also  Evanston  Hist.  So.  Colls.)  This  cabin  was  built  by 

*  Present  golf  grounds  of  the  Ouilmette  Country  Club,  property  of  the  North- 
western University. 


one  John  Doyle,  who,  considering  his  name  and  date  of 
residence,  may  be  safely  designated  "the  first  Irishman  of 
the  North  Shore, ' '  for  it  is  certain  there  are  few  living  wit- 
nesses who  can  successfully  dispute  this  statement,  nor  can 
any  good  reason  be  shown  why  the  North  Shore  should  not 
have  its  "first  Irishman"  as  well  as  Chicago. 

The  authority  as  to  this  being  the  house  where  the  wed- 
ding was  celebrated  is  Mr.  Charles  S.  Raddin  of  Evanston, 
who  secured  the  information  some  years  ago  from  Mrs. 
Archibald  Clybourne,  who  may  have  been  present  at  the 
wedding,  although  Mr.  Raddin  neglected  to  ask  her.  Mr. 
Raddin  was  further  neglectful  in  failing  to  get  the  name  of 
the  best  man  and  maid  of  honor,  and  whether  they  were 
Irish  or  Pottawatomie.  The  ceremony  was  performed  by 
John  B.  Beaubien,  a  justice  of  the  peace,  as  is  shown  beyond 
question  by  the  records  of  Peoria  County. 

Ouilmette  and  his  family  lived  in  this  cabin  at  the  time 
of  this  wedding  and  for  some  time  thereafter,  although 
their  most  permanent  abode  was  about  a  mile  south  of 
there,  and  will  receive  later  mention.  (Authority,  Sophia 
Martell,  who  has  examined  a  copy  of  this  photograph  and 
identified  it,  and  who  also  corroborates  Mr.  Raddin  regard- 
ing her  sister 's  wedding. ) 


The  treaty  of  Prairie  du  Chien  with  the  Chippewa,  Ot- 
tawa and  Pottawatomie  Indians,  by  which  the  reservation 
was  ceded  to  Ouilmette 's  wife,  was  concluded  July  29, 
1829.  Among  other  provisions  of  land  for  Indians  and 
others,  Article  4  of  the  treaty  provides  as  follows : 

"To  Archange  Ouilmette,  a  Pottawatomie  woman,  wife  of  An- 
toine,  two  sections  for  herself  and  her  children  on  Lake  Michi- 
gan, south  of  and  adjoining  the  northern  boundary  of  the  cession 
herein  made  by  the  Indians  aforesaid  to  the  United  States.  .  . 
The  tracts  of  land  herein  stipulated  to  be  granted  shall  never  be 
leased  or  conveyed  by  the  grantees,  or  their  heirs,  to  any  person 
whatever,  without  the  permission  of  the  President  of  the  United 

The  land  was  surveyed  by  the  government  surveyors  in 


1842  and  the  patent  therefor  was  issued  October  29  of  the 
same  year. 

This  treaty  is  of  special  historical  interest.  By  it  the 
United  States  acquired  title  from  the  Indians  to  all  of  the 
land  within  the  city  limits  of  Evanston  and  great  tracts  to 
the  west,  bounded  as  follows :  Beginning  at  the  north  line 
of  Ouilmette's  reservation,  or  a  little  south  of  Kenilworth* 
on  the  Lake  Shore,  due  west  to  the  Rock  River,  thence  down 
the  river  and  east  of  it  to  the  Indian  boundary  line  on  Fox 
River,  established  by  the  treaty  of  1816 ;  thence  northeast- 
erly on  that  line  to  Lake  Michigan,  thence  north  along  the 
lake  shore  to  the  place  of  beginning. 

[The  line  mentioned  as  running  "northeasterly  to  Lake  Michi- 
gan" is  the  center  of  the  street  in  Rogers  Park,  known  for  many 
years  and  in  our  records  as  the  "Indian  Boundary  Road,"  now 
unfortunately  changed  by  direction  of  the  City  Council  of  Chi- 
cago to  "Rogers  Avenue."  It  is  about  half  way  between  Calvary 
Cemetery  and  the  Rogers  Park  depot;  crosses  Clark  Street  or 
Chicago  Avenue  at  the  site  of  the  old  toll-gate  and  Justice 
Murphy's  birthplace  on  the  opposite  corner.  There  should  be 
active  co-operation  in  restoring  the  name  "Indian  Boundary"  to 
this  highway.  I  am  informed  that  the  name  was  changed  at 
the  solicitation  of  Mr.  Rogers'  family.  He  was,  no  doubt,  a 
worthy  pioneer,  but  his  name  seems  to  have  been  sufficiently 
perpetuated  by  the  name  Rogers'  Park  which  was  the  former 
village,  now  annexed  to  Chicago.  There  is,  too,  a  railroad  sta- 
tion there  of  that  name  and  many  real  estate  subdivisions  also 
bearing  his  name.  This  Indian  Boundary  line  is  not  only  a 
great  landmark,  but  the  treaty  which  fixed  it  has  great  historical 
significance  in  the  development  of  Illinois.  This  line  is  referred 
to  in  many  maps,  surveys,  deeds  and  conveyances,  is  in  part  the 
dividing  line  between  the  cities  of  Chicago  and  Evanston,  runs 
in  a  southwesterly  direction,  intersecting  other  roads  and  streets 
in  such  manner  as  to  make  it  an  important  and  distinctive  high- 
way, the  importance  of  which  will  grow  more  and  more  as  the 
years  go  by.  The  disinclination  of  City  Councils  to  disturb  his- 
torical landmarks  by  changing  the  names  of  old  highways  should 
surely  have  been  exercised  in  this  instance.  Both  the  Chicago 
and  Evanston  Historical  Societies  in  joint  session  at  Chicago, 
November  27,  1906,  by  urgent  resolutions  requested  the  City 
Councils  of  Evanston  and  Chicago  "To  change  back  to  its 
original  form  the  name  of  this  highway,  thus  restoring  to  it  its 
former  proper  and  historic  name  'Indian  Boundary  Road.' "  It 
is  to  be  regretted  that  such  action  has  not  yet  been  taken.] 

This  treaty  also  included  a  vast  territory  lying  between 
the  Mississippi  and  Rock  rivers  in  Illinois  and  Wisconsin, 
f,nd  was  planned,  it  is  said,  with  reference  to  the  succeed- 
ing Treaty  of  Chicago  in  1833  to  finally  clear  Western  Illi- 

*  Elmwood  Avenue  in  Wilmette  Village. 


nois  and  Southern  "Wisconsin  of  the  Indians.  "By  its  pro- 
visions the  Indians  became  completely  hemmed  in,  or  sur- 
rounded. To  use  a  common  saying  in  playing  checkers, 
the  Indians  were  driven  into  the  'single  corner'  before 
they  were  aware  of  it."  (Haine's  American  Indian,  p. 

This  treaty  was  the  entering  wedge,  designed,  as  above 
stated,  to  eventually  oust  the  Pottawatomies  and  other 
tribes  from  Illinois  and  Wisconsin,  and  the  manner  in 
which  its  execution  was  secured  reflects  no  credit  upon  our 
nation.  If  the  writers  who  have  investigated  the  subject 
can  be  relied  upon,  hardly  any  treaty  with  the  Indians  ever 
made  is  subject  to  more  just  criticism. 

It  is  claimed  by  Elijah  M.  Haines,  author  of  "The  Amer- 
ican Indian, ' '  that  the  two  sections  of  land  constituting  the 
Ouilmette  Reservation,  were  given  to  Ouilmette's  wife  and 
children  as  a  bribe  for  the  husband's  influence  in  securing 
the  execution  of  this  treaty.  Mr.  Haines,  late  of  Wauke- 
gan,  was  for  some  years  Speaker  of  the  Illinois  House  of 
Representatives,  and  spent  a  portion  of  each  year  for  many 
years  among  the  Indians.  In  his  book  he  devotes  some 
ten  pages  (550-560)  to  "the  ingenious  work  in  overreach- 
ing the  Indians  in  procuring  the  execution  of  this  treaty, ' ' 
from  which  it  appears,  if  Mr.  Haines  is  correct,  that  plans 
were  laid  in  advance  by  the  Government's  agents  to  carry 
it  through  by  electing  chiefs  to  fill  vacancies  in  the  Potta- 
watomie  tribe  who  were  not  only  friendly  to  the  whites,  but 
who  were  parties  to  a  prior  conspiracy  to  dupe  the  Indians. 
As  the  author  says,  "the  jury,  being  thus  successfully 
packed,  the  verdict  was  awaited  as  a  matter  of  form. ' '  Mr. 
Haines  seems  to  have  reached  this  conclusion  after  careful 
investigation,  including  personal  interviews  with  some  of 
the  principals,  among  whom  was  Alexander  Robinson,  one 
of  the  chiefs  who  was  elected  at  the  very  time  the  treaty 
was  signed.  Mr.  Haines  sets  out  a  personal  interview  be- 
tween himself  and  Robinson  on  the  subject,  which  is  as 
follows : 

"Mr.  Robinson,  when  and  how  did  you  become  a  chief?" 

"Me  made  chief  at  the  treaty  of  Prairie  du  Chien." 

"How  did  you  happen  to  be  made  chief?" 

"Old  Wilmette,  he  come  to  me  one  day  and  he  say:     Dr.  Wol- 


oott"  (then  Indian  agent  at  Chicago,  who  Mr.  Haines  says, 
planned  the  deal)  "want  me  and  Billy  Caldwell  to  be  chief.  He 
ask  me  if  I  will.  Me  say  yes,  if  Dr.  Wolcott  want  me  to  be." 

"After  the  Indians  had  met  together  at  Prairie  du  Chien  for 
the  Treaty,  what  was  the  first  thing  done?" 

"The  first  thing  they  do  they  make  me  and  Billy  Caldwell 
chiefs;  then  we  be  chiefs  .  .  .  then  we  all  go  and  make  the 

Chiefs  Robinson  and  Caldwell  were  handsomely  taken 
care  of,  both  in  this  treaty  and  subsequent  ones,  in 
the  way  of  annuities,  cash  and  lands,  as  were  also  their 
friends.  Archange  Ouilmette,  Indian  wife  of  the  man  des- 
ignated by  Chief  Robinson  as  "Old  Wilmette,"  and  her 
children  thus,  according  to  Mr.  Haines,  secured  the  two 
sections  of  land  constituting  the  Reservation  under  discus- 
sion and  which  seems  to  show,  if  Mr.  Haines  is  correct,  that 
Ouilmette  was,  indeed,  as  already  stated,  a  thrifty  French- 

[See  map  of  1851  in  paper,  "Father  Pinet  and  his  Mission  of 
the  Guardian  Angel  of  Chicago,"  Evanston  and  Chicago  Hist. 
So.  Colls,  showing  Reservations  of  Ouilmette,  Billy  Caldwell, 
Alexander  Robinson  and  other  parties  to  this  treaty.] 

There  is  ample  ground,  however,  for  disagreement  with 
Mr.  Haines  in  his  voluntary  criticism  of  Ouilmette  in  this 
transaction.  It  must  be  borne  in  mind  that  Ouilmette  and 
his  family  were  not  only  friendly  to  the  whites  during  the 
stirring  and  perilous  times  at  Chicago  in  the  War  of  1812 
and  also  in  the  later  Black  Hawk  War,  but  they  themselves 
had  suffered  depredation  at  the  hands  of  the  Indians,  as 
shown  by  Ouilmette 's  letter  to  John  H.  Kinzie.  Then,  too, 
he  was  occupying  this  very  land,  then  of  little  value,  and, 
considering  his  fidelity  to  the  Government,  notwithstand- 
ing his  marriage  to  a  Pottawatomie  wife,  it  would  seem  that 
this  cession  of  these  two  sections  of  land,  under  the  circum- 
stances, was  entirely  right  and  probably  very  small  com- 
pensation for  his  friendly  services.  Then,  too,  it  must  be 
remembered  that  he  did  not  get  the  land,  but  it  went  to  his 
Pottawatomie  wife  and  her  children. 

Mr.  Haines  says  of  this  transaction  and  Dr.  Wolcott 's 
and  Ouilmette 's  connection  with  it  (p.  557) :  "In  aid  of 
this  purpose,  it  seems  he  secured  the  services  of  Antoine 
Wilmette,  a  Frenchman,  who  had  married  an  Indian  wife 


of  the  Pottawatomie  tribe,  one  of  the  oldest  residents  of 
Chicago,  and  a  man  of  much  influence  with  the  Indians  and 
a  particular  friend  of  Robinson 's." 

It  is  fair  to  say  that  Mr.  Haines  excuses  both  Robinson 
and  Caldwell  for  their  action  in  the  matter  on  the  ground 
that  they  had  long  been  friendly  to  the  whites  and  were 
misled  into  believing  that  the  integrity  of  their  white 
friends  was  as  lasting  as  their  own  (p.  556).  It  is  to  be 
regretted  that  Mr.  Haines  did  not  express  the  same  views 
as  to  Ouilmette,  for  history  clearly  demonstrates  that  he 
was  richly  entitled  to  it. 

This  statement  of  Mr.  Haines  the  writer  called  to  the  at- 
tention of  Sophia  Martell  and  her  son,  and  we  have  his 
written  reply  thereto  to  the  effect  that  "it  is  all  rot/'  and 
that  if  it  was  true  "Antoine  Ouilmette  would  have  re- 
ceived other  and  different  lands  for  himself,"  and  this 
reservation  was  theirs  "by  right,"  and  "their  share  of 
lands  allotted  to  the  Pottawatomies  and  to  different  fami- 
lies at  that  time."  (See  Ev.  Hist.  So.  Colls.) 

Ouilmette  was  also  on  hand  when  the  Treaty  of  Chicago 
(1833)  was  negotiated,  as  he  was  at  Prairie  du  Chien,  for 
the  treaty  not  only  provides  for  the  donations  already  men- 
tioned to  Chiefs  Robinson  and  Caldwell,  to  Ouilmette 's 
children  and  others,  but  he  secured  $800  for  himself,  as  the 
treaty  shows.  Whether  this  was  compensation  for  his 
hogs  that  had  been  "distroyed"  some  thirty  years  before 
by  the  Indians  (mentioned  by  him  in  the  Kinzie  letter),  or 
as  further  compensation  for  his  prior  services  at  Prairie 
du  Chien  or  at  Chicago  in  1812,  is  not  disclosed,  but  it  cer- 
tainly is  evidence  of  his  desire  to  see  that  his  finances 
should  not  suffer  in  deals  made  with  his  wife's  relations. 


The  acquaintance  of  the  first  white  settlers  with  the  Ouil- 
mette family  on  this  reservation  is  of  interest.  To  some 
of  their  reminiscences  reference  will  here  be  made : 

In  a  letter  written  by  Alexander  McDaniel  to  the  pub- 
lishers of  Andrea's  History  of  Cook  County  (1884),  and 
quoted  in  that  work  (p.  465),  Mr.  McDaniel  thus  describes 


his  first  trip  to  the  North  Shore  and  his  first  observation  of 
the  Ouilmette  family. 

"On  the  14th  of  August,  1836,  I  left  Chicago  in  the  morning 
and  about  noon  I  brought  up  at  the  house  of  'Anton'  Ouilmette. 
The  place  was  then  called  'Gross  Point,'  being  located  about  four- 
teen miles  north  from  Chicago  on  the  Lake  Shore.  The  house 
that  the  'Wilrnette'  family  then  occupied  was  a  large  hewed  log 
block-house,  considered  in  those  days  good  enough  for  a  very 
congressman  to  live  in,  at  least  I  thought  so  when  I  was  dis- 
patching the  magnificent  meal  of  vegetables  grown  on  the  rich 
soil,  which  the  young  ladies  of  the  house  had  prepared  for  me. 
I  was  then  a  young  man  about  twenty-one  years  old,  and  this 
being  my  first  trip  out  of  Chicago  since  I  had  come  West,  I 
naturally  was  curious  to  know  more  about  my  hosts.  Upon  in- 
quiry I  soon  found  out  that  the  family  consisted  of  Anton  and 
Archange,  the  heads  of  the  family,  and  their  eight  children, — 
Joseph,  Mitchell,  Louis,  Francis,  Elizabeth,  Archonce,  Sophia 
and  Josette,  Lucius  R.  Darling,  husband  of  Elizabeth,  and  John 
Deroshee,  husband  of  Sophia;  the  father  being  a  Frenchman 
and  the  mother  a  half-breed.  The  children  were  nearly  white, 
very  comely,  well  dressed  and  intelligent.  Josette,  in  fact,  had 
obtained  quite  a  reputation  as  a  beauty.  The  Wilmettes  owned 
cattle,  horses,  wagons,  carriages  and  farming  implements,  work- 
ing a  large  tract  of  land. 

"After  leaving  the  family  I  passed  along  in  a  northwesterly 
direction  to  where  Winnetka  is  now  located.  There  I  purchased 
the  claim  on  160  acres  of  Government  land  of  Perry  Baker  and 
Simeon  Loveland  in  March,  1837,  built  a  house  on  the  land  and 
kept  'Bachelors'  Hall'  there  for  five  years.  I  had  occasion  to 
become  very  well  acquainted  with  my  Indian  friends  and  found 
them  most  agreeable  neighbors." 

(McDaniel  moved  to  Wilmette  in  1869.    Andrea's  Id.) 

The  following  is  quoted  from  Andrea's  History  of  Cook 
County,  p  465 : 

"About  the  time  Mr.  McDaniel  settled  at  Winnetka  .  .  . 
Charles  H.  Beaubien,  a  cousin  of  Mark,  settled  near  the  center 
of  Section  27,  on  the  place  now  occupied  by  Henry  Gage.  Charles 
Beaubien,  like  his  cousin,  Mark,  was  a  great  fiddler  and  always 
in  demand  at  dances  attended  by  the  few  blooming  white  girls 
of  that  vicinity  and  those  of  a  duskier  tinge.  The  Wilmette 
family  were  upon  such  occasions  in  almost  as  pressing  demand 
as  Beaubien  himself." 

Joseph  Fountain,  late  of  Evanston,  now  deceased,  says 
in  an  affidavit  dated  in  1871  that  when  he  first  came  here 
he  lived  with  Antoine  Ouilmette;  that  at  that  time  he  (An- 
toine)  was  an  old  man,  about  70  years  of  age,  and  was  liv- 
ing upon  the  reservation  with  his  nephew,  Archange,  his 
wife,  being  then  absent.  *  *  *  That  within  a  year  or 
two  thereafter  the  children  returned  and  lived  with  their 
father  upon  the  reservation.  The  children  went  away 
again  and  returned  again  in  1844.  They  were  then  all 


over  lawful  age,  had  usual  and  ordinary  intelligence  of 
white  people  and  were  competent  to  manage  and  sell  their 
property.  *  *  *  That  he  was  acquainted  with  the  chil- 
dren and  their  father  and  after  their  return  assisted  them 
in  building  a  house  to  live  in  on  the  reservation.  That 
during  the  last  twenty  (20)  years  the  Indian  heirs  have  not 
been  back  there.  *  *  *  That  in  the  years  1S52  and 
1853  the  land  was  not  worth  over  $3.00  per  acre." 

On  inquiry  in  1901  of  Mary  Fountain,  Joseph  Foun- 
tain's widow,  a  very  old  lady,*  and  by  like  inquiry  of  Mr. 
Benjamin  F.  Hillf  and  others,  the  writer  ascertained  that 
this  house  of  Ouilmette's  just  mentioned  was  built  of  logs, 
situated  on  the  high  bluffs  on  the  lake  shore,  opposite,  or  a 
little  north  of  Lake  Avenue,  in  the  Village  of  "Wilmette, 
and  that  the  former  site  of  the  house  has  long  since  and 
within  the  memory  of  old  residents,  been  washed  into  the 
lake,  many  acres  of  land  having  been  thus  washed  away. 
Mr.  Hill  says  that  this  house  was  at  one  time  occupied  by 
Joel  Stebbins,  who  used  it  as  a  tavern. 

In  1857  John  G.  Westerfield  acquired  that  part  of  the 
reservation  where  this  house  stood  and  in  the  year  1865 
"tore  the  old  house  down."  (Andrea's  Hist,  of  Cook 
County,  p.  466.) 

Mr.  Charles  P.  Westerfield,  surveyor  and  a  veteran  of 
the  Civil  War,  now  living  in  Waukegan,  son  of  John  G. 
Westerfield,  in  a  recent  letter  (March  9,  1908),  corrobo- 
rates this  statement  as  to  the  location  of  this  cabin  with 
the  exception  that  he  says  it  stood  just  a  little  north  of 
what  is  now  Lake  Avenue,  or,  to  be  exact,  immediately  east 
of  the  present  Ouilmette  Country  Club  House.  The  fol- 
lowing is  quoted  from  the  same  letter : 

"Quite  a  little  grove  that  stood  still  east  of  the  cabin  site  In 
1857,  when  we  first  occupied  the  land,  was  also  washed  away.  I 
remember  that  part  of  the  logs  of  the  Ouilmette  cabin  were  used 
by  father  to  build  a  cowshed  on  the  old  place;  he  also  saved  some 
of  the  parts  as  relics,  but  I  presume  they  are  now  lost  .  .  . 
I  remember  that  my  child-like  curiosity  was  aroused  on  at  least 
two  occasions,  as  I  watched  a  small  squad  of  Indians  turn  out 
from  the  old  Green  Bay  Road  and  go  up  to  the  old  cabin  and 
look  it  over  as  though  they  were  familiar  with  it,  and  then  again 

*  Mrs.  Fountain  died  in  Evanston,  February  17,  1905. 

ie.  "R 


t  Benjamin  F.  Hill  died  in  Milwaukee.  Wisconsin,  October  7,  1905,  his  residence 
up  to  that  time,  however,  having  been  in  Evanston. 

resume  their  tramp,  up  to  about  the  year  1860-61,  the  passing  of 
two  or  three  Indians  at  a  time  along  the  Green  Bay  Road  was  a 
common  occurrence." 

There  is  no  photograph  of  this  cabin  known  to  be  in 
existence  but  Mr.  Westerfield  has  a  very  distinct  recollec- 
tion of  its  appearance  and  has  at  the  writer's  request  kindly 
utilized  both  his  recollection  and  ability  as  an  artist,  in 
supplying  this  society  with  a  water  color  drawing  of  it 
(see  original  drawing  Evanston  Historical  Society  Colls., 
and  half  tone  reproduction — frontispiece,  page  2,  supra.) 

Should  the  present  intention  of  the  citizens  of  Wilmette 
and  of  the  Sanitary  District  of  Chicago  to  create  and  main- 
tain a  public  park  at  this  place  on  the  lake  front,  built  by 
spoil  excavated  from  the  Drainage  Canal  now  in  progress 
of  construction,  be  carried  out,  it  is  respectfully  suggested 
that  the  Evanston  Historical  Society  or  the  citizens  of  Wil- 
mette, or  both,  erect  at,  or  near  the  foot  of  Lake  Avenue, 
on  the  former  site  of  the  cabin,  a  suitable  monument  bear- 
ing in  substance  the  inscription : 

"On  this  spot  stood  the  Log  Cabin  of 
Antoine  Ouilmette,  the  first  permanent 
white  settler  of  Chicago  (A.  D.  1790)  and  of 
the  North  Shore  (A.  D.  1826-1841).  He 
married  a  Pottawatomie  woman  of  the 
band  of  that  Indian  tribe,  located  here  in 
the  18th  Century.  To  her  and  her  children 
this  land  was  granted  as  a  Reservation  by 
the  Indian  Treaty  of  Prairie  du  Chien,  July 
29,  1829.  From  him  the  Village  of  Wil- 
mette derives  its  name." 

Within  a  very  short  distance  of  Ouilmette 's  cabin 
(about  100  feet  north)  was  an  Indian  mound  which  had 
been  used  for  burial  purposes — not  a  large  mound  but  a 
small  one  some  10  to  15  feet  in  length  and  about  4  feet  in 
height — later  this  mound  was  obliterated  in  plowing  of  the 
field  by  farm  hands  of  Mr.  John  G.  Westerfield  and  later 
by  the  washing  away  of  the  embankment  by  the  action  of 
the  lake.  One  of  Mr.  Westerfield 's  employees,  Daniel  Ma- 
honey  (now  deceased)  while  plowing  with  an  ox  team 
about  the  year  1857  or  1858  over  and  around  this  mound 
plowed  up  several  implements  including  a  small  steel 
tomahawk  now  in  the  collections  of  this  society — a  loan 
exhibit  by  Mr.  Charles  P.  Westerfield  who  is  authority  for 


this  item  (see  his  letters  Ev.  His.  So.  Colls.,  under  title 
Ouilmette. ) 

The  affidavit  of  Mr.  Fountain  indicates  that  Ouilmette 
lived  on  the  reservation  until  1838.  His  letter  of  1839  in- 
dicates a  residence  at  Racine,  at  which  place  he  had  a  farm 
for  several  prior  years,  and  while  living  in  Chicago,  or  at 
least  a  tract  of  land  where  he  frequently  went.  (Author- 
ity, Sophia  Martell.) 

Mr.  Benjamin  F.  Hill  says  that  he  knew  him  about  the 
year  1838 ;  that  he  was  then  a  very  old  man,  rather  small 
of  stature,  dark-skinned  and  bowed  with  age;  that  about 
that  year  he  went  away.  He  died  at  Council  Bluffs,  De- 
cember 1,  1841. 

Mr.  Hill  says  that  Mr.  Fountain  omits  in  his  affidavit 
one  item  concerning  the  acquaintance  between  Ouilmette 
and  Fountain,  viz.,  a  lawsuit  in  which  Ouilmette  prose- 
cuted Fountain  and  others  for  trespassing  upon  the  reser- 
vation by  cutting  timber,  which  resulted  unfavorably  to 
Ouilmette ;  that  there  was  a  large  bill  of  court  costs,  which 
Fountain 's  lawyer  collected  by  having  the  sheriff  levy  upon 
and  sell  a  pair  of  fine  Indian  ponies  belonging  to  Ouil- 
mette, which  were  his  special  pride,  and  that  it  was  imme- 
diately after  this  incident  that  Ouilmette  left  the  reserva- 
tion, never  to  return. 

In  the  years  1843  and  1844  "  several  of  the  family  re- 
turned" to  the  reservation,  ''occupying  the  old  homestead 
until  July  of  the  latter  year."  (Andrea's  Id.,  p.  466.) 

The  value  of  the  timber  probably  accounts  for  the  selec- 
tion of  this  land  by  Ouilmette  when  the  treaty  was  drawn. 
There  are  many  other  interesting  reminiscences  among  the 
old  settlers  of  Evanston  regarding  Ouilmette.  One  from 
William  Carney,  former  Chief  of  Police  of  Evanston  and 
for  many  years  a  Cook  County  Deputy  Sheriff,  who  was 
born  in  Evanston,  is  to  the  effect  that  Ouilmette  often  went 
through  Evanston,  along  the  old  Ridge  trail  on  which  the 
Carneys  lived,  on  foot,  and  always  carrying  a  bag  over  his 
shoulder;  that  the  children  were  afraid  of  him,  and  that 
Carney's  mother,  when  he  was  a  small  boy,  used  to  threaten 
him  with  the  punishment  for  misconduct  of  giving  him  to 
"Old  Wilmette,"  who  would  put  him  in  the  bag  and  carry 


young  Carney  home  to  his  squaw.  Mr.  Carney  says: 
1 1 Then  I  used  to  be  good."  And  it  is  local  history  that  in 
later  years  my  youthful  associates  used  to  say  something 
to  the  same  effect  about  " being  good/'  after  an  interview 
vith  Mr.  Carney  himself,  when  he  had  grown  to  manhood 
and  became  the  first  Chief  of  Police  of  Evanston,  his 
brother  John  constituting  the  remainder  of  the  force.  In 
those  days  too,  "Carney  will  get  you  if  you  don't  look 
out!"  was  a  common  parental  threat  in  Evanston.  (Mr. 
Carney  died  in  April,  1907,  at  Evanston.) 


As  already  shown,  neither  Archange  Ouilmette  nor  her 
children  could,  under  the  Treaty  and  Patent,  sell  any  of 
the  land  without  the  consent  of  the  President  of  the  United 
States.  Consequently  there  is  much  data  respecting  the 
family  both  in  the  recorder's  office  of  this  county  and  in 
the  office  of  the  Interior  Department  at  Washington,  espe- 
cially in  the  General  Land  Office  and  the  office  of  Indian 
Affairs.  To  some  of  these  documents  I  refer : 

By  a  petition  dated  February  22,  1844,  to  the  President 
of  the  United  States,  signed  by  seven  of  the  children  of 
Ouilmette  (all  except  Joseph),  it  appears  that  Archange 
Ouilmette,  the  mother,  died  at  Council  Bluffs  November 
25,  1840,  that  six  of  the  children  signing  the  petition  then 
resided  at  Council  Bluffs,  and  one  (probably  the  former  lit- 
tle Josette)  at  Fort  Winnebago,  Wisconsin  Territory;  that 
in  consequence  of  their  living  at  a  remote  distance,  the  land 
is  deteriorating  in  value  "by  having  much  of  its  timber, 
which  constitutes  its  chief  worth,  cut  off  and  stolen  by 
various  individuals  living  near  by,"  which  would  seem  to 
indicate  that  people  were  not  so  good  in  those  days  in  Ev- 
anston as  they  have  been  reputed  to  be  in  some  later  days, 
if  the  Chicago  newspapers  can  be  believed  in  this  respect. 
The  petition  further  says :  ' '  The  home  of  your  petitioners, 
\?ith  one  exception,  is  at  Council  Bluffs,  with  the  Potta- 
watomie  tribe  of  Indians,  with  whom  we  are  connected  by 
blood,  and  that  your  petitioners  cannot,  with  due  regard 
for  their  feelings  and  interests,  reside  away  from  their  tribe 


on  said  Reserve";  also  that  they  have  been  put  to  expense 
in  employing  agents,  whose  employment  has  not  been  bene- 

The  petition  then  asks  leave  to  sell  or  lease  the  land,  and 
the  prayer  concludes  in  the  following  words : 

"Or,  that  your  Excellency  will  cause  the  Government 
of  the  United  States  to  purchase  back  from  us  said  Reserve 
of  land  and  pay  us  one  dollar  and  twenty-five  cents  per 
acre  therefor." 

1 '  And  your  petitioners  further  show  that  they  are  now  at 
Chicago  on  expense,  waiting  for  the  termination  of  this 
petition,  and  anxious  to  return  home  as  soon  as  possible," 
and  request  action  "without  delay." 

As  the  result  of  this  petition  and  subsequent  ones,  Henry 
W.  Clarke  was  appointed  a  special  Indian  agent  to  make 
sale  of  the  Reservation,  or,  rather,  that  part  of  it  owned  by 
the  seven  petitioners,  so  that  a  fair  price  could  be  obtained, 
and  sale  was  made  to  real  estate  speculators  during  the 
years  1844  and  1845.  In  the  correspondence  between  the 
various  departments  of  the  Government  with  reference  to 
the  sale,  appear  the  signatures  of  John  H.  Kinzie,  John 
Wentworth  (then  member  of  Congress),  William  Wilkins, 
Secretary  of  War;  President  John  Tyler,  W.  L.  Marcy, 
Secretary  of  War;  also  the  signatures  of  President  James 
K.  Polk  and  U.  S.  Grant.  (For  copies  of  these  documents 
see  Evanston  Historical  Society  Collections.) 

The  south  half  of  the  Reservation,  including  all  that  is  in 
Evanston  (640  acres)  sold  for  $1,000,  or  a  little  over  $1.50 
per  acre.  The  north  section  was  sold  in  separate  parcels 
for  a  larger  sum.  The  correspondence  tends  to  show  that 
the  seven  Ouilmette  children  carried  their  money  home  with 
them,  but  as  the  Special  Indian  Agent  had  no  compensation 
from  the  Government  and  there  were  several  lawyers  en- 
gaged in  the  transaction,  the  amount  that  the  Indians  car- 
ried back  to  Council  Bluffs  can  be  better  imagined  than 

Joseph  Ouilmette  in  the  year  1844  took  his  share  of  the 
Reservation  in  Severalty,  deeding  the  remainder  of  the 
Reservation  to  his  brothers  and  sisters,  and  they  in  turn 
deeding  his  share  to  him.  The  share  that  he  took  was  in  the 


northeastern  part  of  the  reservation;  he  secured  the  best 
price  in  making  a  sale  and  seemed  inclined,  not  only  to 
separate  his  property  interests  from  his  brothers  and  sis- 
f  ers,  but  to  be  more  of  a  white  man  than  an  Indian,  as  he 
did  not  follow  the  family  and  the  Pottawatomie  tribe  to 
the  West  for  several  years,  but  adopted  the  life  of  a  Wis- 
consin farmer,  removing  later  to  the  Pottawatomie  Reser- 
vation in  Kansas,  at  which  time  he  was  a  well  known  man 
at  Saint  Mary's,  Kansas. 

An  affidavit  made  by  Norman  Clark,  May  25,  1871,  states 
that  Joseph  Ouilmette  was  in  1853  a  farmer,  residing  on 
his  farm  in  Marathon  county,  Wisconsin,  "  about  300  miles 
from  Racine/'  and  that  the  $460  he  received  for  his  share 
of  the  Reservation  "was  used  in  and  about  the  improvement 
of  his  farm,"  upon  which  he  lived  for  about  seven  years, 
and  that  he  was  capable  of  managing  his  affairs  "as  ordi- 
nary full-blooded  white  farmers  are";  that  from  1850  to 
1853  he  carried  on  a  farm  within  two  miles  of  Racine,  pre- 
sumably on  the  land  formerly  owned  by  his  father,  An- 

It  appears  from  various  recorded  affidavits  that*all  of  the 
children  of  Ouilmette  are  now  dead.  Such  affidavits  must 
have  been  made  from  hearsay  and  with  a  view  of  extin- 
guishing upon  the  face  of  the  records  all  possible  adverse 
claims,  for,  as  heretofore  stated,  Sophia  Martell  was  living 
at  last  accounts  (1905)  on  the  Pottawatomie  Reservation  in 
Kansas,  at  a  very  advanced  age,  but  with  a  good  memory 
that  has  served  a  useful  purpose  in  supplying  the  writer 
with  some  of  the  facts  here  noted.  With  this  exception,  all 
of  the  children  are  dead,  but  many  of  their  descendants  are 
still  living  on  this  same  Kansas  Reservation,  and  several  of 
them  are  people  of  intelligence  and  education,  prizing 
highly  the  history  of  their  ancestors.  (See  correspondence 
with  them,  Evanston  Hist.  So.  Collections.) 

The  only  relic  of  Antoine  Ouilmette  in  the  hands  of  the 
Evanston  Historical  Society  is  an  old  chisel,  or  tapping 
gouge  used  by  him  in  tapping  maple  trees  in  making  maple 
sugar  on  the  Reservation,  at  a  point  a  little  west  and  some 
two  blocks  north  of  the  present  Wilmette  station  of  the 
Northwestern  Railway,  immediately  west  of  Dr.  B.  C. 


Stolph's  residence.  This  chisel  or  gouge  was  secured  by 
Mr.  Benjamin  F.  Hill  in  this  sugar  bush  soon  after  Ouil- 
mette  went  away,  and  there  is  not  the  slightest  doubt  of  its 
being  the  former  property  of  Ouilmette,  for  Mr.  Hill  was 
not  only  the  John  Wentworth  of  Evanston  in  the  matter  of 
being  an  early  settler  (1836),  with  a  great  fund  of  authen- 
tic information,  but  was  a  man  of  force  and  intelligence, 
of  excellent  memory  and  unquestionable  integrity,  and  al- 
ways interested  in  historical  subjects,  as  his  many  valuable 
contributions  to  the  Evanston  Historical  Society  abun- 
dantly show.  (See  Hill  Exhibits  and  papers.) 

Mr.  Edwin  Drury  of  Wilmette  Village,  presented  (1908) 
to  this  society  a  very  curious  relic  found  within  a  short  dis- 
tance of  the  former  site  of  the  Ouilmette  cabin  and  of  Mr. 
John  G.  Western" eld's  former  residence,  viz.,  a  very  odd 
piece  of  broken  statuary,  dug  up  by  workmen  in  making 
an  excavation.  This  broken  image  was  found  in  a  bed  of 
blue  clay,  some  three  feet  below  the  surface,  immediately 
under  a  large  wild  crab  apple  tree,  the  age  of  which  would 
seem  to  indicate  that  the  soil  had  not  been  excavated  nor 
disturbed  for  very  many  years.  Whether  Mr.  Drury 's 
suggestion  that  it  might  be  a  relic  of  the  early  Jesuits  pos- 
sibly of  Father  Pinet,  who  founded  in  this  vicinity  a  mis- 
sion among  the  Miami  Indians  in  the  year  1696,  is  a  ques- 
tion respectfully  referred  to  the  local  archaeologist.  It  is 
at  all  events  an  interesting  object  for  study.  (See  Mr. 
Drury 's  letter  regarding  same,  Ev.  Hist.  So.  Colls.,  title 


There  is  every  reason  to  believe  that  Antoine  Ouilmette 
and  his  family  well  deserve  what  little  of  compliment  has 
here  been  paid  to  their  history  and  memory.  Should  any 
incredulous  reader,  however,  be  inclined  to  doubt  that  Ouil- 
mette and  his  descendants  were  people  of  ability  or  that  the 
flight  of  time  has  added  any  enchantment  to  this  view,  the 
writer  would  for  illustration  refer  to  the  correspondence 
with  I.  J.  Martell,  a  grandson,  on  file  in  the  collections  of 
this  society.  One  of  these  letters,  written  in  a  fine  hand, 
showing  that  the  writer  has  not  been  inattenive  to  the  ad- 


vantages  of  a  common  school  or  commercial  college  educa- 
tion, and  that  he  at  least  respects  the  traditions  regarding 
his  grandfather  (though  with  an  inclination  not  to  exag- 
gerate the  Indian  blood  in  his  veins),  will  here  be  quoted. 
This  letter  is  as  follows : 

"Kansas  City,  Mo.,  August  22,  1905. 
"Mr.  Frank  R.  Orover,  Chicago,  III. 

DEAR  SIR:  Your  letters  with  interrogatories  received  and  in 
reply  thereto,  will  say:  That  I  am  one  of  the  sons  of  Mrs.  Sophia 
Martell;  and  a  grandson  of  Antoine  and  Archange  Ouilmette,  of 
whom  you  inquire. 

My  Mother  is  visiting  me  here,  and  from  her  I  get  the  informa- 
tion you  desire. 

Much  more  can  be  said  of  her  and  her  parents  that  is  hard 
to  put  on  paper,  but  which  I  can  tell  verbally. 

She  is  now  the  only  one  of  the  eight  children  of  Antoine  and 
Archange  Ouilmette  living,  and  is  still  hale  and  hearty  with 
good  memory  and  understanding,  and  she  remembers  many 
things  of  importance  regarding  the  old  times. 

Her  father,  Antoine  Ouilmette,  was  a  Frenchman,  who  came 
to  your  city  in  its  earliest  days  from  Canada. 

Her  mother,  Archange  Ouilmette,  was  more  French  than  In- 
dian, as  her  father  was  also  a  Frenchman  by  the  name  of 
Francois  Chevallier,  and  her  mother  was  half  French  and  Indian. 

From  all  I  can  learn,  and  what  I  have  always  heard,  Antoine 
Ouilmette  was  a  progressive,  energetic  man  of  good  business 
ability  for  those  times,  he  accumulated  considerable  property. 
He  had  a  store  in  Chicago,  and  also  a  fine  lot  of  horses,  cattle, 
sheep  and  hogs.  He  also  had  a  farm  at  Racine,  Wisconsin, 
which  he  frequently  visited  while  living  in  Chicago.  He  also 
made  occasional  business  trips  to  Milwaukee  and  Canada. 

He  furnished  the  Fort  with  beef  and  pork  and  also  cordwood, 
in  the  later  days  of  his  residence  in  and  around  Chicago.  He 
had  the  contract  to  pilot  the  lake  boats  up  the  Chicago  River 
with  cattle,  of  which  I  am  told  he  had  100  yoke. 

He  was  known  as  a  kind,  whole  souled,  generous  man  of 
remarkable  energy  and  perseverance,  who  made  friends  with 
everybody,  both  Indians  and  whites,  and  he  in  turn  was  univer- 
sally liked  and  respected.  He  was  very  methodical  in  his  habits 
and  ways  of  doing  business,  and  noted  everything  down  on 
paper,  and  prior  to  his  death  he  left  a  trunk  full  of  papers  which 
he  prized  as  being  valuable. 

I  can  get  more  detailed  information  from  one  of  my  cousins, 
now  an  old  man,  and  also  from  an  old  lady  who  both  now  live 
in  Oklahoma,  concerning  him,  as  they  both  knew  him  personally 
and  lived  with  his  family  in  Chicago. 

I  would  be  glad  to  see  and  tell  you  more  of  him  and  his 
family  after  seeing  the  parties  I  refer  to,  and  would  like  to  hear 
from  you  at  an  early  date  regarding  the  matter. 

If  you  will  bear  expense  of  trips  I  will  go  at  once  to  Oklahoma 
and  see  them,  and  then  to  Chicago  and  see  you. 

Can  furnish  photos  of  my  mother,  Joseph  and  Frank  Ouil- 
mette, and  may  be  able  to  get  something  of  the  kind  in  Okla- 

Awaiting  an  early  reply  and  trusting  that  I  may  be  of  further 
service  to  you,  I  am  Very  respectfully  yours, 

I.  J.  MARTELL." 

711  Locust  St.,  Kansas  City,  Mo. 

More  than  a  century  has  rolled  by  since  this  French 
voyageur  first  saw  the  site  of  Chicago.  The  snows  of  eighty 
winters  have  come  and  gone  since  he  and  his  Pottawatomie 
squaw  made  the  same  choice  of  a  home,  in  the  forest  on  the 
shores  of  old  Lake  Michigan,  that  their  Anglo-Saxon  suc- 
cessors later  also  chose  and  now  enjoy  and  occupy.  Their 
log  cabin  has  passed  away.  They  themselves  years  ago  de- 
parted forever  to  "the  undiscovered  country. "  The  wig- 
wams of  the  Pottawatomies  have  long  since  completed  the 
many  successive  stages  of  their  westward  journey,  but  we 
may  still  enjoy  in  reverie,  if  not  in  recollection,  and  despite 
the  ceaseless  change  of  the  twentieth  century,  the  Ouil- 
mette  Keservation  and  the  North  Shore  as  it  used  to  be.